Solar power is on the rise, with 30% of new power capacity in 2018 coming from this renewable source of energy. More homeowners and businesses are turning to solar to save money on electrical bills and the ability to be off the grid. As it is becoming more mainstream, prices for solar panels are dropping and there are tax incentives and financing options that make it more accessible for people.
Putting up solar panels is a big investment and although it can pay off in the long run, it may cost you up from $30,000 to $45,000 in installation costs to power your entire home, depending on your energy needs. Tax credits and other government incentive programs can help lower this cost, and there are financing options available. Currently, homeowners and businesses can qualify for a federal tax credit at 26% of the cost of their solar panel installation. If you can’t afford them right now, keep in mind that experts predict that solar prices will continue to drop over the coming years so you may be able to sooner than you think.
Recouping Your Investment
Over time, you will make back the money you spent on solar panels by not having to pay an electrical bill. See the graphic below for a breakdown of how long it will take to get your money back for a $30,000 installation.
Solar panels need direct sunlight in order to be most efficient and producing power. Therefore, if you live somewhere that stays cloudy most of the year or have a lot of tall trees on your property, solar may not be right for you. Solar panels are also very heavy, so you need to take into consideration whether your roof can hold their weight or if you will have to install a concrete slab for them to go on. Google has a tool called Project Sunroof that will calculate an estimate of how much power solar panels could produce on top of your house. Check it out here.
There are a couple different ways to go about utilizing solar power energy. Many of these systems are designed to send power back into the grid which reduces your bill as the electric company essentially buys this power from you. This works well if you still want to be hooked up to the electrical grid in case your solar panels fail, or if you worry solar panels won’t be able to provide enough energy for you. This does mean you will be reliant on the grid so if there is a blackout, you won’t have power. To be self sustained on just your own power, you need batteries to store enough electricity when the solar panels aren’t able to provide you with enough. On a bright day, the panels will charge up the batteries so you have enough to make it through the night time or an overcast day. These batteries are pricey and are another expense to keep in mind.